}

Fighting Iran One Nut at a Time

images.jpg This time the Iranian nut in question is not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It’s pistachios! Iranian pistachios, sold through Turkey are making there way onto Israeli store shelves. Muffti doesn’t know if there is a difference in taste but its got the US geovernment AND cali pistachio farmers upset. Jpost reports:

The reddish nuts are landing in Israeli shops after funneling through Turkey, violating Israeli law that bans all Iranian imports and angering American officials who are urging Israel to crack down as part of their attempt to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

US Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Keenum said in a meeting with Israeli officials in Rome on Monday that the pistachio imports must stop, a US official confirmed Wednesday. Both the US and Israel have been pushing for new UN sanctions to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program. Iran insists its ambitions are peaceful.

“This causes great anger, especially since pistachios succeed in coming in through a third country,” Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon told Israeli Radio. “This has to do with the sanctions but also with the competition between American farmers and Iranian farmers, and we are trying to deal with this.”

Simchon said a recent meeting with a senior US agriculture official focused on using technology to detect the origin of pistachios. He said that would involve chemical testing to determine the climate and soil of where the nuts were grown.

In the mid 1990s US officials pressured Israel to block the import of Iranian nuts coming through EU member states and winding up in Israel.

California is the second largest producer of pistachios in the world, according to the former California Pistachio Coalition.

“As a proud native of the golden state (California), I think Israelis should eat American pistachios, not Iranian ones,” said Stewart Tuttle, spokesman for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Scoff all you like but Iranian pistachios have been a big source of contention in the past. See the TED case study for a look at how the nut importing industry has caused previous US – Israeli rifts. One clue: the US is the second largest producer and exporter of pistachios. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to who holds the number one spot?

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8 Comments

  1. Shy Guy

    11/22/2007 at 2:30 pm

    “Crack-down.” Heh heh. 🙂

  2. Sarah

    11/22/2007 at 3:58 pm

    Hmmm, most pistachios you can get here are labelled to be from Turkey… and have repeatedly been found to contain risky levels of toxic substances…

  3. grandmuffti

    11/22/2007 at 4:32 pm

    Nice one Shy Guy! Turkish pistachios are supposed to be a delicacy, sara, but Muffti would be careful of ’em.

  4. Sarah

    11/22/2007 at 4:36 pm

    At least if one doesn’t want to suffer a fate similar to that of Napoleon…

  5. Rabbi Yonah

    11/22/2007 at 5:17 pm

    This is so preposterous

    Iran is the world’s number four exporter of oil.
    4,146,000 barrels per day.
    1, 513, 290,000 barrels per year

    Oil is currenly selling at over 90$ per barrel.

    Cutting off all iranian pistachios would cut the net exports of Iran byclose to nothing compared to their oil exports….
    blockquote>Value of Pistachio exports was 45.9 Million Dollars in October of the current year that has had an increase by 5.71 percent in comparison with that of past year.

    (IANA) – On the quotes of the Customs of Islamic Republic of Iran, in October 6.8 Thousand Tons of dried or fresh Pistachio has been exported at 45.9 Million Dollars (33.6 Million Euros) that has had an increase by 6.75 percent in weight and 5.71 percent in value in comparison with that of past year.

    According to the statistics of the Customs of Islamic Republic of Iran in October 2006 Iran’s Pistachio export was 6.4 Thousand Tons valued at 43.5 Million Dollars (1.34 Million Euros).

    Average price of each Kilo of Pistachio was 6.7 Dollars in September of current year and was 6.8 Dollars in that of past year.

  6. Shy Guy

    11/22/2007 at 11:49 pm

    In other words, Rabbi, this is really all about peanuts.

  7. Rabbi Yonah

    11/23/2007 at 12:00 am

    Please ShyGuy – don’t bring up Jimmy Carter:-)

  8. winner

    11/19/2008 at 4:46 am

    Hello everybody,

    I just came to say that nobody can change Iranian pistachio popularity. It’s the best in the world and all of you know this, but the thing is that some political issues have caused some fruitful contentions.
    I think this commodity should be away from any political issue NOT ONLY in Iran but all over the world.

    Regards

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